Saturday, January 30, 2010

UPPSA and APA-CMS co-host Paths in Planning Careers Event

On January 14, 2010 at 6:00pm, UPPSA and the Chicago Metro Section of the American Planning Association (APA-CMS) co-hosted a Paths in Planning Careers event at Jak's Tap near UIC.

Two local planners shared their planning experience, knowledge, and insight into their career paths. Michael Blue, Director of Community Development, City of Highland Park and Brad Winick, Principle Urban Planner, URS Corporation, shared many great stories for practicing planners and students alike. They discussed why they chose planning as a career, the differences between the public and private sectors, their experiences in changing sectors, and what they find to be the most important traits of planners.

Among their many pieces of advice, they emphasized that to be successful planners must have that extra drive and patience. They must learn to incrementally and creatively work in an interdisciplinary and political process. In a competitive professional market, they should highlight their ability to understand the overall community and urban context. They discussed the positive and negative aspects of working in the private and public sectors, emphasizing the ability of public sector planners to work with a community over a long period of time and the ability of private sector planners to develop expertise that can be shared with many different communities. They find that planners can start in either sector and later transfer to the other. Though their role contrasts - with the private sector searching for projects and the public sector managing many projects - they are increasingly working together.

This is the first event co-hosted by APA-CMS and UPPSA, with opportunities for more in the future. Let us know if you have any suggestions/ideas. APA-CMS events are held monthly and are a great opportunity for students to connect with local professionals. Register ahead of time and get the discounted rate of $5!

If you are interested in more planning advice like this, check out the APA Mentorship Program! Many planners are interested in helping you. It is a casual program in which you can meet as often as you like. Go to the UPP website/ Current Students/ Career Development,, to learn more. For more info and to view mentor profiles, contact Michael Mays at

Katie Bowman

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FREE AICP Exam Study Session

Friday, March 19, 2010
9:00am – 4:30pm

Sponsored by: Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-IL)

The APA-IL is offering an exciting and effective all-day session for AICP exam test-takers led by the creators of Planningprep. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to provide a thorough look at the exam and its major (typical) topic areas, to make candidates aware of the format and difficulty of test questions, and to provide strong, focused direction for individual study and preparation. The program helps candidates focus on topics that may show up on the exam they take. These workshops have proven to be an invaluable part of the preparation process for candidates in past years.

This session will include:

+ Overview of the structure of the exam
+ Potential areas of focus for the exam
+ Sample questions
+ Facilitated discussions with your peers and people who have taken the exam
+ The style of questions you can expect
+ A kick-off to your study efforts
+ Demonstration of the Planning Prep website

What is PlanningPrep?

+ PlanningPrep ( ) was created in 2002 specifically for AICP exam preparation
+ Includes practice questions, practice exams, planning related links, article summaries, and discussion forums.
+ Membership is good until you pass the exam
+ Includes 1025 questions and 7 practice exams
+ Each multiple-choice question contains an explanation for each correct answer
+ Links for further reading are also provided with our questions
+ User statistics are tracked for each area of focus

Note: Planningprep has no affiliation with the APA or AICP

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Financial Awards through the APA

The APA has some funding options that MUPP students can apply for to help alleviate the financial burdens of graduate school.

Master's level students from PAB-accredited planning departments may apply for the Economic Development Division's graduate scholarship. The recipient of the $1,000 award will be chosen based on a faculty recommendation and an original paper or work on a topic related to economic development and planning. Apply by February 18.

The Housing and Community Development Division Research Grant program identifies innovative housing or community development methods, practices, or programs. The 2010 grant recipient will receive $1,000 for materials and activities directly related to research for a master's thesis or other project. The submission deadline is February 18.

The student writing competition sponsored by the Transportation Planning Division recognizes and rewards student work completed for courses in PAB-accredited programs on current transportation planning or policy issues. Submit entries by February 18.

GIS in Haiti

The skills we learn in the MUPP program are also applicable for emergency preparedness and emergency response. For example, this New York Times article shows an interesting use of GIS to determine destruction resulting from the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Planning to attend the APA National Conference in New Orleans?

Students get a discount of over $40 if you register before February 18th! In addition, you could volunteer at the conference to make the conference FREE to you (minus travel expenses of course). But by joining your graduate student association, UPPSA, some of your travel costs could be reimbursed, making the conference affordable to every starving student out there!

The details:
Volunteer your time at the conference, and earn $100 — the exact amount of the early registration fee for student members. Students volunteer 8 hours at the conference, while networking with practicing planners, working with APA staff, and meeting other students.

Guidelines: Students must be registered for the conference at the time they apply to be a volunteer and must be student members of APA. Volunteers are reimbursed on site upon completion of eight hours of work. You must be available to work the full 8 hours in one shift, but APA reserves the right to schedule multiple shifts should it be necessary. All 8 hour shifts are scheduled to include a one-hour break for lunch, not included in the 8 hour total. If you cannot work your assigned shift, you forfeit the opportunity to volunteer. For more information contact: Julia Krol at

Application Deadline
March 9, 2010

More information can be found on the APA National Conference Web page, here

And as a reminder to new students, you can sign up for UPPSA by submitting the membership form (email the UPPSA Board at for the form) and either turn it in along with a check or money order made out to 'UPPSA' for (a measly) $15 to Ann Barnds (CUPPA room 225) OR bring it to the first UPPSA General Assembly meeting of the semester on January 22nd. (6pm, basement lounge). Then join us afterward for our Transit Oriented Dining and get to know your fellow MUPPS!

Friday (1/22) TOD at La Taberna Tapatia!!!

Join UPPSA after its 6:00pm General Assembly meeting this Friday, January 22nd at La Taberna Tapatia, a Mexican watering hole off of the Paulina Brown line stop (across from the restaurant El Tapatio). For more information, directions and reviews, check out what Yelp has to say at here. Hope to see y'all there!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guest Lectures on Urban Politics @ UIC

Title of Talk: Inside the Political Machine
Speaker: Burton Natarus (Former Chicago Alderman of the 42nd Ward)
Date and Time: Thursday, January 28, 2010/11 AM-12:15 PM

Title of Talk: Race, Poverty, and Community Development in Bronzeville
Speaker: Johnnie Blair (President and Founder of Bronzeville Chamber of Commerce)
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 9, 2010/11 AM-12:15 PM

Both talks are hosted in E112 2LCE. Talks are held in conjunction with POLS210.

Friday, January 15, 2010

FAQ on CUPPA Graduate Tuition Differential

CUPPA has, after consultation with the UPP and PA Departments, posted an FAQ website on the topic of Graduate Tuition Differential--

Please contact--,

if you have further questions or comments on this important topic.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Nation of Hunkered-Down Homebodies

by editors of the New York Times
Posted January 10, 2010

The nation’s mobility rate fell last year to its lowest level since World War II, according to the latest census data. Growth is slowing in Sun Belt states and Northeastern states are holding on to more people. The current recession and lack of jobs are big factors, but the trend has been gaining force since the 1950s, when nearly one-fifth of all Americans moved every year.

Why are Americans becoming less nomadic? Greater labor mobility helps the economy, but are there other kinds of effects — negative or positive — related to a more rooted population? Is there an upside to more Americans staying closer to their hometowns?

Click HERE to continue reading . . .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome New Spring 2010 MUPPs!

Fellow MUPPs,

Please join me in welcoming the new cohort of Spring 2010 MUPP students as they begin the next exciting phase of their lives. We're glad you're here!

To our new colleagues: you are now part of an awesome community of engaged scholars and intelligent professionals, and you have joined the largest, strongest Planning network in the country. Please take full advantage of the resources and opportunities that are being made available to you.

To aid in your last-minute preparations for classes, I offer a brief to-do list:
  • Double-check your schedule in the self-service application, find your classes, and make sure your finances are in order
  • Log in to Blackboard, make sure the courses you've registered for show up under "My Courses"
  • Browse around each course's Blackboard site and check for a syllabus - particularly check whether or not there is a reading assignment due before the first class
  • While you're at it, get a good planner/organizer or invest in a good calendar app for your phone me on this one
  • Become a fan of UPPSA on Facebook and befriend all of your UPPSA Board members (see names below). Also follow UPPSA on Twitter and join our LinkedIn group!
Phew! After you've completed these activities, you'll be as ready as you'll ever be.

Please also keep your eyes peeled for your UPPSA Board members:

Sara Amaral: First Year Representative and News Team Member
Jennessa Berg: Secretary
Katie Bowman: Vice-President
Valbona Kokoshi: APA Representative
Jason Saavedra: President
Mike Sobczak: Treasurer and Chief Activities Officer
Andy Waggoner: Professional Development Officer

Please also welcome two of our newest Board Affiliates:
Anjali Alva: Book Exchange Manager
Sarah Jane Sherburn: News Team Member
Noah Gordon: News Team Contributor

Look for them in class and don't be shy - just introduce yourself! Soon we will have photos and bios up online so you can get to know us better.

I will be there during your rescheduled orientation along with some other UPPSA Board members, and we look forward to meeting you then. Here's to a successful semester!


Jason Saavedra
Candidate, Master of Urban Planning and Policy
President, Urban Planning and Policy Student Association
University of Illinois at Chicago

Sunday, January 3, 2010

APA-Chicago Metro Section Calendar of 2010 Events

Below is a program schedule of the 2010 APA-Chicago Metro Section Events:

January 14th @ Jaks Tap (901 W. Jackson): "Career Paths in Planning: A Networking & Roundtable Event"

February 25th @ DePaul University Downtown Campus: "Planning for a Sustainable Future: Hot Topics and Cool Examples"

March 17th @ DePaul University Downtown Campus: "Planning for High-Speed Rail"

April 10th-13th in New Orleans, LA: 2010 National Planning Conference

May 14th @ CMAP Offices, Willis Tower: "Right Sizing Cities and Suburbs: Matching Capacity and Demand"

June 23rd @ CMAP Offices, Willis Tower: "Overcoming (Re-)Development Obstacles"

July 21st @ Arlington Heights Village Hall: "TOD: Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead"

August 12th @ Naperville City Hall: "Planner Toolbox: Creating Better Landscape and Sign Codes"

September 22d-24th @ Bloomington-Normal, IL: 2010 State Planning Conference

October 14th @ CMAP Offices, Willis Tower: "Planning for the Recovery"

November 10th @ CMAP Offices, Willis Tower: "The Many Shapes, Colors and Applications of Design Guidelines"

December: No Event, Happy Holidays!